En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 19, 2012

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant, Privacy Screening, Shade Tolerant, Trees
Title: Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the day and receives maybe 2-3 hours of sun. I would prefer the plant be around 20'-40' when mature. Also, there are plenty of deer in the area so it needs to be deer resistant.


Wow!   That’s a lot of requirements [or at least “wishes”].  The more constraints you put on a solution, the more limited your options are, but I[we] got lucky and there are some good choices which I discuss at the bottom of this message.   The proper way to go about this is to bring up the “Recommended Species” for Maryland – then “narrow the choices” by your requirements on the sidebar.  The following Mr Smarty Plant question/answer pairs illustrate this and provide some interesting reading on similar questions:
Native Alternatives for Baltimore 
Evergreens for Privacy in VA
Privacy Screen in Arlington VA
Shrubs for a Screen in DC
Large Shrubs for Privacy Screen in VA
Shrubs for a barrier fence in Alexandria VA

   Now, just in case you are in a “just give me the answer” mood; I did this for shrubs/trees in the 12-36 foot range and partial shade [2-6 hours sun].  After that, you have to read the plant record to see if it is evergreen and to see if there is a comment as to deer resistance.  Here is what I found:

  The closest to having everything was Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), which is both evergreen and listed as having moderate deer resistance.
Evergreens that might also be good choices include  Ilex opaca (American holly), Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rosebay) and Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel), but there was no mention of deer resistance.

Similarly, non-evergreens that are listed as deer resistant include Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer ash) which is listed as High Deer Resistance, and Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) or  Viburnum rufidulum (Rusty blackhaw viburnum) with Moderate Deer Resistance.


From the Image Gallery

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

American holly
Ilex opaca

Catawba rosebay
Rhododendron catawbiense

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Rusty blackhaw viburnum
Viburnum rufidulum

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer-resistant groundcover for sunny hillside in California
November 17, 2009 - we are looking for a deer resistant, drought resistant ground cover that we can grow from seed. we have a large,partial sunny hillside, well drained,that is cover with oak leaves and pine needles..and...
view the full question and answer

Native plants both deer resistant and good for erosion from North Oaks MN
August 23, 2012 - We have several partially sunny areas on hills that are prone to both deer and erosion. Our goal is to reduce runoff in an effort to preserve the watershed that provides tap water to many citizens of ...
view the full question and answer

Keeping deer away from non-native plants in Lansing MI
June 22, 2011 - What is the real - best way to keep deer from eating my Hostas, Garden phlox and lilies? Ive tried the stinky spray and the fertilizer granules that deter, to no avail.
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant Texas native flowers and bushes from Austin
March 24, 2010 - What are some Texas native flowers and bushes that are deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen, deer resistant native plants for Austin
April 24, 2011 - Are there any evergreen, deer resistant native plants that thrive in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center